SEO has changed more than any other marketing channel over the last decade. In the past three years alone, we have had to contend and adapt to numerous Google Algorithm updates. For a long time, SEO was a very linear housekeeping type of discipline.
But the evolution of the market demands that we too evolve. Optimizing sites now needs an updated approach a holistic strategy that balances out important aspects of attracting users organically. Notably, 51% of online traffic is organic, so SEO is still very important.
The holistic approach requires we look at more than just our content. What cornerstone issues do we need to address to successfully optimize blogs, pages, and essentially, entire sites?
What SEO Has Been in The Past and Where It’s Going
For a long time, SEO has been about keyword rich copy. While writing is important, there is more to modern SEO than just writing.
We are competing with many rising content sites offering the same thing we are offering but with better packaging and presentation.
Many of your competitors are using visually engaging media on platforms like YouTube to cater to the same audience. And while we can still be successful with just copy, it needs to be good copy in a great layout along with appealing accompanying visuals.
Even with the changing land scape, our goal is the same – to attract meaningful traffic to our sites and pages. And, by meaningful, I mean traffic that will convert to whatever the end goal is for your site, whether it’s a purchase or signing up to a newsletter.
What Is the Holistic SEO Approach We Should Be Taking?
In the past, SEO was mostly about finessing how search engines crawl and aggressive link building.
The problem is we are still stuck in that loop. And the current way Google and any search engines worth ranking on are set up, there is no room for the manipulative keyword stuffing and illogical link building strategies. Link building and crawlability is still a key factor in SEO; however, they are not the complete SEO bible.
To formulate an effective holistic and updated SEO approach, we need to focus on four main cornerstones of successful SEO.
1. Copy and Site Content
Ensure all the content on the site can be crawled and indexed by all relevant search engines. Log File analysis is a great way to decode how bots are crawling your site, seeing which pages are being crawled more frequently. You can also see how your crawl budget is utilized. With this info, you can optimize your SEO strategy and focus on the right pages to improve.
2. Silo Structure
Structure site hierarchy and URL structure i.e., parenting in such a way that makes your content easy to navigate for both the user and bots. Your silo should distribute internal link juice equitably.
Investigating and pinpointing where users convert and what may be preventing users from converting or easily navigating the site.
Monitoring performance to tweak and improve strategies.
Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Technical SEO
As long as people search on the web, there will be a need for SEO. I think a lot of SEOs have started being overwhelmed by content marketers and paid advertisers. But they need to look at optimization as a multidisciplinary field and not a linear one.
Being an SEO expert means being a Swiss knife as opposed to being that really good bread knife in the kitchen. Adaptability and effectiveness are key.
There’s no room for manipulation with the way Google is set up now. We are finding ourselves having to collaborate and borrow from other marketing disciplines e.g., PPC, content, and email marketing. SEO is no longer just writing content; we now have to ensure our content is right for the different engines, social networks and devices.
Continuing with the analogy of a Swiss knife, we have listed the five different blades so to speak you need in your SEO arsenal.
Blade 1 – Data Analysis
Gather facts, stats, data and analyses. Research is great but it’s useless to gather data that you will not contextualize and refine with an analytical approach.
Blade 2 – Pragmatic Optimist
There are always plenty of ideas flying around. And, where we can’t A/B test all of them, it is important to have a structure and scope that is adhered to. It’s very easy to get disheartened and hop on and off different strategies without seeing them through when you feel like it’s not ranking overnight.
A pragmatic optimistic approach with structured consistency that fully explores an idea before abandoning it is a major key in successful SEO strategy. This is provided you have thorough, refined, and contextualized research.
Blade 3 – The Salesperson
A good salesperson understands the emotion of their customers. Being good at SEO means being able to related to your audience emotionally. Good marketing is applied psychology; therefore, you need to approach the content in a way that appeals to the feelings and emotions of your target audience.
Blade 4 – The Creative
SEO is a growing and dynamic discipline that is always evolving. So, while sticking to structure and data is great, a creative approach is needed. There are many useful uncharted strategies that can be discovered when we brainstorm and approach SEO with creativity.
Blade 5 – The Project Manager
All these different facets of SEO need to blend and complement each other. Making a cohesive strategy requires a complete unblinkered understanding of the full scope of the SEO strategy. You have to tap into your Swiss knife of SEO skills and pull the Project Managing blade to bring together the entire SEO process right from the data collection to refining and creativity into your copy.
To be effective in bringing all the features of SEO together, you must have a good understanding of how to collect data and analyze it, how to creatively formulate a plan, stick to it, and sell it well.
A technical approach to SEO does not mean blind pragmatism. To the contrary, technical SEO sees us having to continually evolve and adopt new personalities to complete our goals successfully. SEO is no longer a maintenance job, rather it is an inception, planning, and building job.
Creating a successful strategy demands that we look at more than just copy. Google’s mobile first approach means we have to look at how the site’s content presents on all devices.
Successful technical SEO requires a balanced and equitable approach to site content, structure, performance, and conversion.